Let me Introduce you to the Beatyful Italian city of Palermo, located in the Mediterranean Island of Sicily, home of the Mount Etna, famous and active volcano among other marvels and historic wonders, such as the silent "catacombe dei capuccini". If you're planning to go pay a visit, HERE IS a great source of information for your personal guidance throught this ancient place in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea.
THINGS TO DO WHILE VISITING PALERMO:
Go Bargain Hunting in the Vucciria Market
There are three open-air markets in Palermo, but Vucciria is considered by many to be the cream of the shop. At this 700-year-old market, budget-savvy shoppers scour through hordes of Prado handbags, Dulce and Cabbana sunglasses and other knock-off designer clothes, household items, fresh produce, meats, cheese and spices. The casbah-style market runs down Via Roma toward Via Vittorio Emanuele in what is one of the most Arabic sections of the city. It is open Monday-Saturday until 2:00 PM.
Get Quiet in the Catacombs
I’ve never been much of a gawk-at-the-dead type of gal, but the Catacombs in Palermo, or the Catacombe dei Cappuccini is one of the most sobering places I’ve been. The catacombs were built in 1533 and housed their first mummified body – one of the monastery’s own priests – in 1599. Between the 17th and 19th Centuries, wealthy Palermitani filled the catacombs with the bodies of their privileged loved ones. The result is a basement full of 8,000 of the wealthiest deceased dressed in their finest clothes, hats and lace and laid in rows beneath the church. The most famous addition to the catacombs is a two-year-old girl named Rosalia Lombardo who passed away in 1920. She was embalmed with a mysterious method that has preserved her body and she still looks, 90 years after her death, as if she is just sleeping.
Take a Bus to Monreale
Just a 30-minute bus ride from the Piazza Indipendenza in Palermo, Monreale towers over the city and offers panoramic views of the Conca d’Oro (the Golden Shell). The main attraction is the 12th Century Norman-Arab cathedral that has 130 individual mosaic scenes, covering more than 6,000 square meters. Plan time to tour the cloisters and the royal tombs, where Italy’s King William I and II are entombed, along with the heart of King Louis IV of France.
Re-Enact the Godfather at Teatro Massimo
The Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele in Palermo is recognized by Godfather fans as the setting of the final scenes of the famous trilogy… You know, the stairs where Mary died. If The Godfather is not your thing, this colossal theatre, the largest in Italy and third largest in Europe, is still worth a visit. Guided tours are available Tuesday-Sunday for €5.00.
Here's a recipe for my favorite Palermitanian dish: Pasta Con Le Sarde
1/2 cup olive oil 1 cup fresh bread crumbs 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 1 fennel bulb, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree 2 43/8-ounce cans boneless and skinless sardines, drained 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper 1 pound spaghetti
In a large frying pan, heat 1/4 cup of the oil over moderate heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the crumbs from the pan and toss with the Parmesan. Wipe out the pan. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil over moderately high heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes. Add the sardines, parsley, salt, and pepper. Break up the sardines with a fork. Remove from the heat. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce and half of the bread crumbs. Top with the remaining crumbs.
Notes Variation: If you're fortunate enough to find fresh sardines, substitute one pound of them, filleted, for the canned sardines. Add them to the pan along with the garlic and sauté for two to three minutes before adding the tomatoes.
And last but not least, a quick motorcycle ride through the city just to tease you a bit!